There’s nothing bad in scooping up a spoonful of ice on a hot summer day but if you compulsively eat ice regularly, it could be a sign of a health problem. Compulsive ice eating is also known as pagophagia. Here are 9 reasons you should treat pagophagia:
While chewing ice, you’re at risk of eating a sharp piece of ice that could damage your gums and thus provoke infection and other serious gum problems. If you feel the need to chew something, choose sugar-free gum instead. It will help you keep your breath fresh and won’t cause gum problems.
Some types of nutritional deficiency can contribute to the inflammation of the tongue or gums, and chewing ice can alleviate it but at a cost. Any relief from chewing ice for this purpose is temporary. It’s crucial to find out what is causing the inflammation and fight by using effective treatment options.
Pagophagia can also be a sign of stress, emotional upset, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and, in children, a developmental disorder. If you find out that you don’t have iron deficiency, you may consider trying cognitive behavioral therapy, which can help overcome pagophagia.
Eating ice may seem harmless, but if it becomes a compulsive habit, this is damaging to you. Consuming ice compulsively (pagophagia) is an eating pattern in which a person craves non-food items, such as hair, glue, dirt, or worse.
The damage to your teeth and gums that occurs due to chewing ice goes beyond tooth enamel. This habit could lead to cracked and chipped teeth, issues related to fillings and crowns, and even sore jaw muscles.
Many people who suffer from pagophagia report their teeth to become extremely sensitive to hot and cold drinks and foods and eating ice also means you may be more prone to cavities. To avoid tooth decay and other potential dental problems, you should give up this habit.
Chewing things that have no nutritional value such as ice might be a possible sign of iron deficiency anemia. According to a study published in Medical Hypotheses, in people with iron deficiency anemia, ice-chewing improved alertness and mental processing speed (but this habit is not effective for people without the condition).
This might be due to the cooling effects of chewing ice that improve blood flow to the brain. If you’re feeling run down, you might also want to avoid these 8 foods that drain your energy levels.
Chewing on ice will create wear and tear on your enamel contributing to microfractures, which can potentially cause the tooth to break. This could even be as severe as needing root canal therapy.
If you find that you want to chew ice when you’re worried about work or finances, the habit could be a method for stress relief. Routinely chewing ice might be the way to reduce stress for some people or probably even a habit, but it may be an underlying sign of a more serious medical problem.
Some people trying to follow a weight-loss diet or restrict food will turn to ice to keep their mouths busy. The problem is that you’re depriving yourself of necessary nutrition and calories. Obviously, this speaks to a larger problem.